Abstract from Professor Alastair Campbell's Guest Lecture presented at the Treasury on 05 September 2006.
Professor Alastair Campbell
University of Bristol
Alastair Campbell , M.A., B.D., ThD.,is Professor Emeritus of Ethics in Medicine in the School of Medicine, University of Bristol. He is a former President of the International Association of Bioethics. Recent publications include Health as Liberation (Pilgrim Press, 1995) and Medical Ethics, co-authored with Max Charlesworth, Grant Gillett and Gareth Jones (Oxford University Press, 2001). Professor Campbell is a member of the Medical Ethics Committee of the British Medical Association. Until recently, Professor Campbell was Chairman of the Wellcome Trust’s Standing Advisory Group on Ethics and Vice-chairman of the Retained Organs Commission. He is currently Chairman of the UK Biobank’s Ethics and Governance Council. Professor Campbell is a Fellow of the Hastings Center, New York, USA.
Ever since the 1940's at least, people have expressed the worry that an increasing proportion of the elderly in the populations of wealthier nations will put such a strain on health budgets that there will be "intergenerational injustice" – either the younger, or the older, age groups will be treated unfairly in the allocation of resources devoted to their health care. In order to understand the theories of justice underlying this debate, I shall discuss three different approaches to deciding what is fair treatment of older people: 1) the "equality of opportunity" criterion of Norman Daniels; 2) the "appropriate life span" concept of Daniel Callahan; and 3) an approach based on social solidarity and rights to health care, summarised by Matthews and Russell in a recently published report for the Nuffield Trust. I will then seek to draw some conclusions about fair policy decisions for meeting the health and social care needs of older people.